Greater Rift Changes Coming: Less RNG, No Conduit Pylons?

Like it's compensating for something.

Like it’s compensating for something.

Last week Blizzard replied to questions about the goal of Greater Rifts and how they are balanced. Here’s the meat of last week’s address:

For the most part, DiabloWikiGreater Rifts are intended to act like a yardstick (or meter stick, if we’re waxing Metric) by which players can measure the power growth of their hero, as opposed to something that is meant to be completed. Part of the confusion about the intended role of Greater Rifts might come from the fact that, during the public test phase of patch 2.1.0, there was a temporary cap in place (for testing purposes), and some players were able to reach that limit while the PTR was running. However, we never intended to allow players to reach the maximum level of what Greater Rifts offer once the system went live. In fact, for all intents and purposes, the number of Greater Rift levels currently has no limit.

Today he returned to that thread and added a couple of replies about what sort of changes we might see for the future of Greater Rifts. Greater Rift Changes Coming: Less RNG, No Conduit Pylons?

GR is mostly luck.. at a certain level though, if your hero is strong then yeah, you dont need luck, but the top 10 of a class is, most certainly, luck based GR.
Grimiku: In general, we use randomness in Diablo III to increase the replayability, Greater Rifts included. At the same time, we don’t want Greater Rifts to be so random that it feels like your success is completely at the mercy of a random number generator. Ideally, the randomness within Greater Rifts should keep each Rift level feeling fresh and provide for some unexpected moments of excitement, as well as test how well a player is able to adapt to controlled amounts of unpredictability (i.e. randomness).

At the moment, though, we do feel randomness plays too heavy a role in Greater Rifts, and will be making improvements along those lines. No firm date on this, but just wanted to note that we’re on the same page. Valid feedback, and thanks!

Conduit Pylon a very good measure of power growth, No?
Pylons can be a hell of a lot of fun to encounter in game, and that’s one of the big reasons we added them to Greater Rifts.

That said, we do agree that pylons, at least in their current form, have had negative effect on Greater Rifts for the top end. Ideally, we don’t want to remove pylons from Greater Rifts, since we like the variety they provide, but we also don’t like the current situation where certain classes and builds are able to defeat a Rift level multiple ranks higher than could normally thanks to a single pylon (in this case, a Conduit Pylon).

As with other factors in Greater Rifts density, monster types, Rift Guardians, etc, finding a good balance between random vs. predictable is something we’re going to continue to iterate and improve upon for Greater Rifts, and that includes pylons too. Ultimately (as I noted in another post), randomness in Greater Rifts should create positive variety and a sense of excitement. We don’t think we’ve nailed that in all areas just yet, so we appreciate all the discussion and dialog on this topic in the meantime.

On the podcast a couple of weeks ago I threw out a remark that I’ve seen a few people quote then, so I’ll QFT myself: “It’s not really a Diablo game if you’re not being screwed by RNG.”

It can be said sarcastically whenever someone else is complaining about gambling all night without hitting a single Legendary, but it’s really just human psychology. No one makes a forum thread to celebrate when they hit six straight LGem upgrade rolls at 60%, since we all think our good luck is deserved and long overdue. But when the opposite happens, you get 10 page forum threads pushing anecdote as “broken” RNG data, all wrapped up in bright shiny tinfoil.

That said, do people really want to attempt to remove luck/RNG from the game? From Greater Rifts? We don’t want unfair or broken luck, but competitions always have variance. Every sports event has lucky bounces, missed tackles, bad referee calls, shots that miss by an inch, etc. All of those things are “luck” to some extent, especially when far more of them land on one side than on the other, but that’s why people enjoy competitions. As the cliche goes, “that’s why they play the game” and it’s the element of luck that makes actually playing/racing in Grifts something more than just comparing character sheets and declaring the higher DPS the winner.

That said, when one single element (like a Conduit Shrine) can sway outcomes so greatly, especially when leveraged by a cheat (like a HUD that works in a Grift) it goes beyond the level of “RNG makes things more fun.” So it’s probably good that Bliz is looking to smooth down the variance a bit, at least at the highest level of Grifts, where any tiny edge can make all the difference.


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  1. Never found a Conduit Pylon during a solo greater rift. Pretty much not able to take advantage of any Pylon that I get, except the 'all abilities are free and cooldowns are now fun' Pylon.

    Several people are looking for Pylons and/or skipping levels in Greater Rifts until they find the mob density and population they're looking for, such as lots of red zombies.

    The no.1 on any ladder at the end of Season will not get money. They will not get a job with Blizzard. They get bragging rights and if they want to write a guide, it will get a lot of likes.

    I'm playing a Crusader and I'm running a Condemn build. I didn't come up with this build. I'm not promoting personal ideas or strategies as they've all proved inferior to the status quo build. Having my name in the top 100 doesn't make me feel pro or skilled, it just shows to the world how much I actually play this game. There are many people looking to score a place in the ladder, I'm not one of them.

    I don't fish for Pylons, I don't look for mobs that are easy to kill and/or boost advancement by a lot. I play the hand I'm dealt.

    If the #1 and #2 Demon Hunters are both running the same skills, passives and items and in the last hour of Season 1, the #2 becomes the #1 due to a Pylon… will that prove anything to anyone? At the end of the season, it's not going to be the people who 'win the game', it's going to be the builds and whoever came up with those builds initially is going to be getting the credit, even if they're not in the top 1000.

    But more variety in elite affixes on the same level would be nice. There seem to be Mortar levels, electrified levels, waller levels more than anything else. I dread the day I'll get to the Extra Health level. 😀

    • Elite affixes *are* random. People however tend to focus on affixes they don't like so they'll remember seeing those ones multiple times, but ignore the rest, the end result being a flawed perception of affix distribution. As a Monk I hate Electrified, so I'll most likely remember my encounters with Elites that have it. On the other hand Plagued and a couple of other affixes are a complete non-issue, so when an Elite only has these I'll just facetank them and won't remember the boring fight I had with them.

      Also, the affix pool isn't that big and with 4 slots one specific affix has a fairly good chance of showing up, especially since Elite density can be really high in Rifts.

    • Noobish understanding of challenge purpose.

      "Having my name in the top 100 doesn't make me feel pro or skilled, it just shows to the world how much I actually play this game. "

      Well to give you an example im in top 10 Europe Hardcore Wizzards with only a 110hours of play on wizard. so yes in 2 months every one can go for top 10 if they have enough skill.

      The fact that you are not interested in ladderboards is something else but you lack simple understanding of why players wanted challenges/ ladderboards in the first place.

  2. I like the way conduit pylons work just fine.
    I don't discover them in every Grift. In fact, I probably only find them every 10th Grift. But finding one of them is like hitting the jackpot -a lucky break.
    Sure, it may advance my character a little bit further than normal for that Grift, but I don't get all bent out of shape worrying that it's making my character seem stronger than he is.
    (Maybe I'm misunderstanding the concern here, but honestly, this seems a little weird to me.)

    • Barbarians in particular could complete a level in SIX MINUTES and still lose because their single target is nonexistent. That's why it matters.

      That and it scales, so it actually keeps pace with the insane enemy scaling.

      • This is what bugs the crap out of me about the Barbarian, and why it's still my least favorite class. I built up my full Raekor's with all the bells and whistles, hitting the CDR I was shooting for, and while I could clear a Grift in like five minutes if I wanted to the only way to actually clear the Guardian was to A: Find a Conduit Pylon along the way and leave enemies around it, returning after hitting about 99% to make the Grift Guardian spawn near the pylon, or B: After hitting about 99% run around the rest of the Grift like an idiot looking for a Conduit Pylon to spawn the Guardian near. For the record, a Conduit Pylon will always have a 100% chance of killing the Grift Guardian of any level as long as you can survive long enough for it to do its thing, because its power scales with your Grift level.

        It's incredibly cheesy and I don't know why single-target and resource regeneration is so laughably bad on the melee classes. Obviously the Monk has had a boost on the order of like 5x as far as generation is concerned, but for all of these classes there aren't really many viable builds that can squeeze in single-target damage (aside from Sunwuko's which basically converts it to AoE), and for Raekor's your only open slot is left-click which can only have (for all intents and purposes) Frenzy or Call of the Ancients linked to it. Most people go for CotA which, again, does jack all against single targets. I'd say it's more of a design failure in the classes and gear sets themselves rather than the Grifts; people are just using the resources available to compensate for where their character is lacking.

    • SoftShack – that is exactly what pylons feel like on HIGHER Greater Rifts, playing the roulette and im sure this is not what ladderboards are supposed to be.

  3. I don't mind losing all pylons in GRs. That being said, people seeking a competitive gaming experience might want to look for another game. I remember when PvP arenas single-handedly killed World of Warcraft during the Burning Crusade, it wasn't pretty.

    • ChimpMagnet – competition is not allways about PVP but when RNG makes 80% from the competition then there is none. But its true a Competitive game, Diablo 3 is not.

      That said when people asked for ladderboards as some sort of competition I am sure they didn't ask to g o to the casino if you know what I mean.

  4. I am not competing for the top spots. Currently my crusader is barely able to do T6. I always feel excitement when we encounter a pylon in a (greater) rift and if anything, I would like to encounter a lot more small bonuses. If conduit pylons would disappear on grifts below 30 I would be very sad.

    • BazzPsychoNut – Well you musn't allways think about what you want. In this case you should think about what the point of ladderboards should be.

      As you have said, you are barely playing T6 so how are you supposed to understand how its on 39 40 …

  5. Execution errors don't have much to do with luck. It's skill. If you die because you panic and mistime the use of important skills, that's not an unlucky break – that's bad player judgment. In the same way that a missed field goal or tackle is bad player judgment – you thought you could accomplish the task by taking into consideration X, using Y force or angle, but it really required Z approach. This is what Greater Rifts should be testing. The luck is in assembling the gear. The skill is in fine tuning the build and executing the correct moves at the correct time to take down the challenge as quickly as possible.

    • I'd agree if it wasn't randomized to the point where, for some Grifts, you'll have to crawl through 5+ levels with a lot of loose density stopping to pop every enemy along the way just to get the Guardian to spawn with a minute or so remaining, where your friend could pop a Grift in the act 5 cemetery and clear that one area with no excessive walking or backtracking needed to spawn the Guardian in five minutes, which also allows you to die because the checkpoint is right there at the door (assuming Softcore). It feels like you spend a lot of time waiting for that "lucky rift" to be able to delve one level deeper, ones that had a lot of Pylons and density.

      The real kick in the teeth is that some classes (Barbarian) are all but useless when it comes to actually killing the Guardian at the end when on the higher Grift levels without a Pylon. They have to rely on CDR-based builds which are all AoE-focused and offer little to no single-target benefits, meaning a lot of sitting and waiting for cooldowns to reset before you can attack again, simply because they don't have any real single-target sets or builds capable of doing reliable damage that compares to the other classes. That would be fine and dandy and a the leaderboards could potentially still show who's at the top of the food chain if Conduit Pylons didn't exist, completely skewing the leaderboards.

    • Katniss – Sad thing is that so few players see the things for what they should be.

  6. I love the 'grey areas' in sports but I can't say I correlate shrines to grey areas.

    If the referee threw the puck into the net and called it a goal, that isn't a grey area… That's what I would liken the conduit shrine to, completely throwing things off.

    Once again another news item comes up that I had in my PTR feedback thread ages ago… Saddens me.

  7. Plyons are fun and I feel they should stay, but it’s the random monster density in some maps I find that’s rubbish. Others are very packed.

  8. DavidTheSlayer bout Shrines and Bad Density are parts of the same RNG that will make you farm Greater Rifts if you want to be on ladderboards.

    We don't want to play the roulette sir. We want to be only about skill in ladderboards but Blizzard said that they want tome type of RNG and when Blizzard talks about some type or RNG usually means layers upon layers upon layers.

  9. This is what need s to be done and this is from someone who actually experienced the higher greater rifts challenge.

    1. Shrines Needs to go ( The RNG part is to Huge on Higher GR )
    2. Monster Density and / progress normalization ( The RNG in Farming GRifts for packs of zombies is just plain stupid )
    3. Maps that make you run for tens and tens of seconds without finding monsters need to go ( its imposible to Normalise Density in those maps )
    4. Trial Keys need to be BIND ON CLASS because as it stands now every player that wants progress must have a DH or bed for a DH to help.
    5 Trial Keys also need to be bound on type of team
    Example of keys ( solo barbarian/ solo dh/…/ 2 man/ 3 man/4 man )

  10. Sorry for the spaming but was really annoying to se players that think they understand the concept of Ladderboards / greater rifts yet they never experienced high lvl play.

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